Texas A&M Aggies wide receiver Christian Kirk (3) was a standout at Scottsdale Saguaro High.
Arizona State and Arizona believe they got a good pull from the state in this year’s recruiting crop. ASU signed nine in-state players, the most since Todd Graham has been there. UA picked up five from the state.
It will take a few years to see how they blossom, if they become major impact players and get to the NFL.
Over the past 10 years, there have been quite a few in-state players who have made it big.
Here is a list of my top 13 players in Arizona since the 2007 recruiting class:
Phoenix North Canyon’s Austin Jackson, the state’s No. 1 recruit, announces he will attend USC, February 1, 2017, at North Canyon High School.
National Signing Day – Arizona recruits on where they will be playing college football
Arizona football recruits Andrew Nichols of Centennial High, Adam Bay of Desert Ridge High, Bryce Gilbert of Higley High, and Tyler Johnson of Highland High on where they will be playing college football next year. David Wallace/azcentral sports
Jared Poplawski discusses switch from ASU to Colorado
Saguaro High School tight end Jared Poplawski talks about attending Colorado.
Saguaro’s Wacaser, Seawards discuss UCLA
Saguaro High School defensive guard Sean Seawards and lineman Jax Wacaser talk about attending UCLA.
Chandler dominates Mountain Pointe to win the 6A state championship
Behind a powerful TJ Green, Chandler held possession, forced turnovers and picked up a redemption win over the favorites. (Patrick Breen/azcentral sports)
Williams Field holds off Centennial to win 5A title
With a fumble return and interception from Williams Field’s Tre’ Bugg, the Williams Field football team took home the state championship trophy. (Patrick Breen/azcentral sports)
Dallin Edwards leads American Leadership Academy to 3A state title
Dallin Edwards accounted for four touchdowns as American Leadership Academy beat Sabino to win the 3A Conference state title. (Jake Rill/azcentral sports)
Centennial coach Richard Taylor reacts to loss in 5A title game
Centennial coach Richard Taylor reacts to his team’s 14-6 loss to Gilbert Williams Field in the 5A state championship on Saturday, Nov. 26 2016. (Alex Caprariello/azcentral sports)
Williams Field’s Tre’ Bugg on his role in 5A championship win
Senior cornerback Tre’ Bugg played a huge role in Williams Field’s 5A state championship win on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016. (Alex Caprariello/azcentral sports)
Williams Field’s Brandon Ruiz on 5A championship win
Williams Field’s 5A state championship is especially important for Brandon Ruiz and his 2017 senior class, Nov. 26, 2016. (Alex Caprariello/azcentral sports)
Thatcher’s Layton Alder talks about his blocked punt in the 2A Conference championship
Alder’s block helped Thatcher come from behind to beat Eagar Round Valley 33-28 in the Conference 2A state championship. (Nick Snow/azcentral sports)
Saguaro QB Max Massingale on 4A state championship win
Scottsdale Saguaro QB Max Massingale on his team’s 4A state championship win against Tucson Catalina Foothills, Nov. 26, 2016. (Scott Bordow/azcentral sports)
Saguaro coach Jason Mohns talks 4A state championship
Scottsdale Saguaro coach Jason Mohns discusses 4A title win against Tucson Catalina Foothills, Nov. 26, 2016. (Scott Bordow/azcentral sports)
Saguaro celebrates 42-14 win in 4A title game
Scottsdale Saguaro players rush the field after their 42-14 win against Tucson Catalina Foothills in the 4A high school football state championship, Nov. 26, 2016. (Scott Bordow/azcentral sports)
6A title game preview: Mountain Pointe vs. Chandler
Richard Obert and Scott Bordow dissect Saturday’s 6A football championship game between Mountain Pointe and Chandler. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
HS football 5A title game preview: Centennial-Williams Field
azcentral sports high school insiders Richard Obert and Scott Bordow dissect Saturday’s 5A football championship game between Centennial and Williams Field. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
HS football 4A title game preview: Saguaro-Catalina Foothills
azcentral sports high school insiders Richard Obert and Scott Bordow dissect Saturday’s 4A football championship game between Saguaro and Catalina Foothills. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
HS football 3A title game preview: Sabino-American Leadership
azcentral sports high school insiders Richard Obert and Scott Bordow dissect Saturday’s 3A football championship game between Sabino and American Leadership Academy. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
HS football 2A title game preview: Thatcher-Round Valley
azcentral sports high school insiders Richard Obert and Scott Bordow dissect Saturday’s 2A football championship game between Thatcher and Round Valley. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
Chandler teammates TJ Green, Johnny Johnson will be college rivals
Green has committed to Oregon State and Johnson to Oregon. First they will team up to try to beat Mountain Pointe for the 6A championship
Sabino athlete Drew Dixon wants state title
Sabino’s Drew Dixon has committed to the University of Arizona as a wide receiver.
American Leadership Academy ready to make history
Football team seeks school’s first state championship.
Centennial coach discusses 5A final
Peoria Centennial coach Richard Taylor previews 5A title game against Williams Field.
Mountain Pointe coach previews 6A final
Phoenix Mountain Pointe’s Norris Vaughan discusses his team’s state title game against Chandler.
Saguaro OL Corey Stephens shocked by region POY honor
Stephens ready for 4A championship after missing first meeting with Catalina Foothills,
Andrew Carlsen talks about his TD, INT as Sabino beats Show Low
Andrew Carlsen caught a 10-yard touchdown pass and had an interception as Sabino upset top-seeded Show Low 23-21 in the 3A Conference semifinals Saturday at Gilbert Williams Field High School. Nick Snow/azcentral sports
Round Valley quarterback Brian Hill on semifinal win
Eager Round Valley quarterback Brian Hill acknowledges the help he received from his defense and special teams in his team’s 2A conference semifinal win on Saturday. (Alex Caprariello/azcentral sports)
Goal-line stand to end regulation keys Thatcher 2A semifinal win
A goal-line stand by Thatcher to end regulation was key in defeating Santa Cruz 27-26 in OT in the 2A football semifinals. (Richard Obert/azcentral sports)
Chandler reacts to semifinal rout over Perry
azcentral sports Richard Obert takes you to the big win spurred by Chandler running back T.J. Green.
Game changers emerge in Arizona high school football
Football state semifinals is when the best players emerge in Arizona high school football. (Richard Obert/azcentral sports)
Bagdad wins 1A football title
Brothers Israel and Benjamin Loveall lead Bagdad to 60-6 win over Williams on Saturday. (Richard Obert/azcentral sports)
No. 1 Christian Kirk, Scottsdale Saguaro, WR, Texas A&M, 2015
He gets the top nod because of how much of an impact he has been in such a short time. No Arizona kid in the past 10 years has made such a sudden college impact as Kirk. His first college game as a true freshman against Arizona State was memorable, returning a punt 79 yards for a touchdown and catching six passes for 106 yards and a score in a 38-17 win. He had 80 catches as a freshman and added 83 more this year. He made first-team All-SEC last season at three spots: Receiver, all-purpose and return specialist. He appears destined to a bright NFL future.
No. 2 Cameron Jordan, Chandler, DE, California, NFL, 2007
The son of former NFL tight end Steve Jordan, this Jordan carved his path on defense, getting after quarterbacks. He was part of a 2007 recruiting class that turned out to be one of the strongest in Arizona high school history. He made first-team All-Pac-10 his senior year at Cal, finishing his career with 34 tackles for losses and 16½ sacks, before becoming an impact player for the New Orleans Saints.
No. 3 Ka’Deem Carey, Oro Valley Canyon del Oro, RB, Arizona, NFL, 2011
The 2011 class turned out great out of the Tucson area. Carey fought through an injury-plagued senior season after rushing for more than 2,700 yards and 45 touchdowns and becoming azcentral sports’ Big Schools Player of the Year his junior season. In 2013, he ran for 1,885 yards and 19 touchdowns for the Wildcats and became the school’s all-time leading rusher. A running back for the Chicago Bears, he was a two-time All-American.
Griffen was a wrecking ball, even as a running back, in high school out of that rich 2007 class. He had 18 sacks in his USC career, but really blossomed with the Minnesota Vikings, becoming a Pro Bowler. He had three sacks in last week’s Pro Bowl.
No. 5 Prince Amukamara, Glendale Apollo, DB, Nebraska, NFL, 2007
Amukamara edged out Griffen as azcentral sports’ Big Schools Football Player of the Year in 2006. That’s how great of a class that was. It also included Cameron Jordan. Amukamara took flight at Nebraska as a lock-down cornerback. A tremendous athlete who helped Apollo win three consecutive state basketball titles, he played his first five NFL seasons with the New York Giants, before playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars this season. He has seven career NFL interceptions.
No. 6 Taylor Lewan, Scottsdale Chaparral, T, Michigan, NFL, 2009
He didn’t become a college prospect until he transferred from Cave Creek Cactus Shadows to Chaparral for his senior year and moved from the defensive to the offensive side of the ball. He destroyed it at tackle, and Michigan came calling. He turned a brilliant college career into becoming a first-round NFL draft pick and just played in his first Pro Bowl for the Tennessee Titans.
A second-round draft pick of the Washington Redskins, Murphy left a legacy at Stanford in his final two seasons, helping the Cardinal capture the Pac-12 title his senior year when he was first-team All-Pac-12 and was mentioned on All-American teams.
No. 8 Andrus Peat, Tempe Corona del Sol, OL, Stanford, NFL, 2012
He made All-American at Stanford by his junior season, then skipped his senior season for the NFL draft, becoming the 13th overall pick by the Saints.
No. 9 Blake Martinez, Oro Valley Canyon del Oro, LB, Stanford, NFL, 2011
Vastly under-recruited out of high school (he got no offers from either ASU and UA), Martinez built a great resume at Stanford, before this NFL season when he became the first player in Southern Arizona history to start in his first NFL game, playing middle linebacker for the Green Bay Packers.
No. 10 Markus Wheaton, Chandler, WR, Oregon State, NFL, 2009
He played his first three high school seasons at Phoenix Mountain Pointe, before finishing at Chandler, where he also was one of the state’s great sprinters in track. He became Oregon State’s all-time record-holder with 227, including 91 his senior season. He had 53 catches in 2014 and 44 catches in 2015 for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
No. 11 Paul Perkins, Chandler, RB, UCLA, NFL, 2012
Incredibly versatile, he made defenders miss in high school and in college and now with the New York Giants in the NFL. He ran for 1,918 yards in his final two seasons at UCLA, where he ran for 14 touchdowns his senior year.
That 2011 class was special. It also included Chandler Hamilton offensive tackle Tyler Johnstone, who went on to an outstanding career at Oregon. Hundley finished his UCLA career with school records for career touchdown passes (75), total offense (11,713 yards) and completions (837). He is now Aaron Rodgers’ backup with the Packers.
No. 13 Mark Andrews, Scottsdale Desert Mountain, TE, Oklahoma, 2014
He never saw himself as a tight end in high school. He had a tight end’s body playing wide receiver for the Wolves, where he was azcentral sports’ POY his junior year. He has wasted no time establishing himself as one the country’s top college tight ends at Oklahoma. He had 31 catches for 489 yards and seven touchdowns this past season for the Sooners as a redshirt sophomore.